Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New York, Part 2

I’m exhausted! I think I did as much in the last 2 days as I normally do in 3 weeks. Saturday was so much fun, hanging w/ Virginia and Scuba Steve. We saw a lot of NYC, but there is so much more to do here. I wish I would have taken more pictures…but I was afraid that if I stopped to snap a photo in the middle of Broadway or 5th Avenue I would get trampled by the millions of people storming down the street. I will have to make more trips out here – I would like to see Queens and Brooklyn and more of Central Park and Long Island and ride the subway and maybe the double decker bus, too. Of course, it may take many more trips to do all that, seeing that I’m a zombie after only a couple days!

Virginia and I found an AWESOME mall in Short Hills, NJ, on Sunday. They didn’t open until 11am, and I had to leave for the wedding at 2pm, so we ended up speed shopping – which is probably good for our bank accounts (y’know, more time = more money spent!). This mall had Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom, Cartier, Jimmy Choo, True Religion, Ann Taylor, Sephora, A Pea in the Pod (for preggers Vriginia!), Lucky Jeans, and the list goes on and on!! I bought a dress for the wedding at Ann Taylor (since I wasn’t overjoyed to wear the one I’d brought), and a pair of 50% off jeans at Lucky. Ginny got some cute baby stuff for her “pea in the pod”. We left knowing that we could have spent many more hours there, but also thankful that we got out with money still in our wallets.

Here's a picture of an outrageously priced (even at 50% off!) Lucky sweatshirt for Ginny's baby...she had to get it because it said Bakersfield on it...how cool is that??

I freshened up for the wedding when we got back and took one more picture w/ Ginny before we all had to hit the road. I went to the wedding with the bride’s friend, Lorna. Lorna graduated from my college, also, but I had only met her a few times before the wedding. Her hubby didn’t come out either, so it made sense for us to go to the wedding together…this is where things started getting interesting…

We had directions from yahoo maps to get us to the church for the ceremony…it was about 25 miles away. We did great until we got to within a mile of the church. Either we missed a turn, or the directions were wrong…thankfully, we had left early, and we only had to make one extra turn. We were relieved when we saw the church ahead of us! The ceremony was beautiful – the church was huge (the ceilings must have been over 50 feet high!), and MA made a gorgeous bride! Her hubby comes from a VERY large Italian family, and MA comes from a loving and loud Portuguese family…let me tell you…that combo makes for a fantastic wedding!!

After the (hour long Catholic) ceremony, we gathered on the front steps of the church to blow bubbles at the happy couple as they made their way to the waiting limo and flowing champagne.

Besides Lorna and a few of MA’s family members, the only other person I knew at the wedding was my old college boyfriend. I hadn’t seen Mikey since graduation – 10 years ago (man, I’m getting old!!). We dated for one year when I first transferred to my university. He’s from a small town 45 minutes from my hometown, and a mutual friend introduced us so that I would know somebody at school when I transferred. We hit it off, and I’ll always be grateful to him for making my first year away from home so much fun. In fact, I met MA through Mikey…I met all of my college buddies that I still keep in touch with through him.

He’s a doctor now!!! A PhD in Materials Engineering…wow! He came to the wedding with his beautiful and fun girlfriend, Molly (also a PhD!). It was a little awkward at first, but once we got past that, I really enjoyed hanging out with my old college buddies. Mikey hasn’t changed a BIT! Still skinny, wearing doc martens and smiling and laughing, showing off those cute dimples.

Molly and I got to know each other at the martini bar at the reception. There was an ice sculpture that the bar tender poured our martinis (notice I said martinis, plural!) through to chill it, and she caught it at the other end in our glass (I should have taken a picture of it!). It was so cool! It’s a good thing I had to drive Lorna to the bus station after the reception, or else I would have camped out at the martini bar!

The reception was amazing!! When we got there, we were offered pina coladas or daiquiris while we waited to sign the guest book. From there we headed into a room that had more food than I can even describe! And it was just appetizers! There was a table covered in every possible fruit, nut, cheese, cracker and shrimp cocktail in the middle of the room. On tables around the outside of the room were pasta bars, a roasted pig (yes, whole!), calamari, the martini bar and at least 2 other fully stocked bars. Servers roamed the room offering us more drinks and bite sized snacks on trays.

After an hour of drinking and eating, we were invited into the dining room for dinner. The dining room was decorated with tables covered in light blue tablecloths with beautiful floral centerpieces sitting on footed silver platters about 2 feet high. There were more glasses and silverware on the table than we knew what to do with!

The bridal party made their grand entrance, and then the bride and groom had their first dance. Next we were invited to take our seats for the pasta course…yes, more pasta! We were served a bowl of shells and marinara sauce. Lorna, Mikey, Molly and I just looked at each other and tried to figure out how to push the pasta around our bowls to make it look like we had eaten some of it. It was delicious, but we wanted to save room for our entrées!

Here is a picture of the bride and I...doesn't she look fabulous?

After the pasta course, we were encouraged to dance (to work off some of the food!) before the next course was served. Molly and I were the first ones on the dance floor, determined to shake our thang! A few minutes later, we were asked to sit down again, since our salads were being served. Our salad was served in a ring of cucumber, shaped to serve as a bowl. It was yummy…and we ate it up, since lettuce doesn’t take up much space in our ever growing bellies. Again, we popped up to dance after we finished eating. I should mention that by this time we’d been at the reception for about 2 1/2 hours!

Our entrée was served next – we had a choice of beef, chicken or salmon. I chose the chicken, and in true Italian spirit, my chicken was covered in prosciutto and mozzarella cheese. It was served with yummy mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus and carrots. As delicious as it was, I only ate about half of it…because by this time we had heard rumor of a dessert bar that was about to be announced!

We were not disappointed! After the bride and groom cut their cake, we were invited out to the patio for dessert. We saw 2 tables about 20 feet long that were covered in every kind of pastry you can imagine (cannoli, cheesecake, tiramisu, chocolate mousse, and things that I don’t even know what they’re called!), another table had ice cream cones, and other had chocolate sauce for dipping things like fruit, cake, and marshmallows. Of course, the wedding cake made an appearance (but I didn’t even eat any!). There was also an espresso bar, and lots of after dinner liquors.

The new Mr. and Mrs...

Thank goodness for the wonderful wedding band – their great music encouraged us to keep dancing so that we would be able to walk out of the building at the end of the night. We danced and laughed ate and did it all some more. The night flew by, and before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye and drive Lorna to the bus station.

Lorna’s friends who traveled with her had checked out of the hotel in NJ, and checked into one in NYC for the next 2 nights…her plan was to ride the bus into the city after the reception to meet up with them. Too bad that didn’t work!

On our way to the reception, we had followed the hotel shuttle, and it was all I could do to keep up with the NJ driver, let alone pay attention to how we got there. It was only about 10 minutes from the hotel, but that didn’t help us find our way back any easier at the end of night! Lorna’s bus station was about 5 minutes from the hotel, so we pulled out the directions the desk clerk had given me and set off in the direction of the hotel…or so we thought.

0.9 miles into our drive back we were already lost…we missed the first turn somehow. So, here we were driving around small town NJ, in the dark, through hills and curves, with no idea where we were! Finally we saw a sign for the highway we were supposed to take back to the hotel…280 West. We followed the signs, and merged on to the highway. About 5 minutes later, we saw a sign saying that we were on 280 East! How did that happen?

In an effort to make this story end soon – here’s what happened…we finally made it to the bus station, after only 3 more wrong turns, about 30 seconds before the bus was due to show up BUT. Lorna hadn’t been able to get in touch with her friends in the City, who were supposed to meet her at the bus station there, and she didn’t want to show up in NYC at 1am all by herself, so she decided to crash on my couch in my hotel room.

We both got some much needed sleep, and I dropped her at the bus stop this morning when we woke up. I haven’t heard from her since, so I assume that she made it ok. I took it nice and slow this morning, and said goodbye to MA’s family at breakfast, packed up and headed to the airport PLENTY EARLY…I was not about to get lost again, especially when I didn’t have anyone to navigate for me!

So, here I am, checked in for my flight and sitting in the airport 4 hours early. I tried to get on an earlier flight home, but there aren’t any from my connecting city. At least I’ve had time to compose this MONSTER of a post about my whirlwind 72 hours on the East Coast.

I’ve had a wonderful time, and there is so much more I want to see…but not for a while…I need a rest from getting lost and going 100 miles an hour and eating too much!

Little did I know as I sat in Newark writing the above that my journey was nowhere near over! After sitting in the airport for 3 hours waiting for my scheduled flight, we boarded our plane and taxied out...only to sit on the tarmac for 2 hours! Apparently, some HUGE storm (at least it better have been huge for all the mess it caused) shut the Atlanta airport down for a couple hours. We got to Atlanta over an hour late, and a few minutes after my connection was scheduled to leave for Wichita.

I recognized 2 ladies on my flight from our trip out on Friday, and we had started chatting while we sat in Newark. Luckily, our connecting gate was close when we finally got to Atlanta, so we headed over to find out what was going on. After several frantic phone calls, talking to a gate agent who knew absolutely NOTHING, we were told that our flight had left ON TIME from Atlanta, and the next available flight to Wichita was at 8pm tonight (24 hours after the original flight). Needless to say, we were not happy. After another phone call to her son, the lady I was with told me that the airline's website said that our plane was still in Baltimore and hadn't made it to Atlanta yet (that was the first believable thing that we had heard all night!). I ran down to our gate again (we'd been in line at the customer service counter), and happened to run into our flight attendants who assured me that we WOULD get to Wichita that night, but we had quite a wait until the plane would get there.

So, after a VERY long day, I met B at baggage claim at 12:15 am this morning. By 1am, I collapsed into bed...but I couldn't drag myself out of bed and to work this morning. That's ok, I had time to do laundry, work out, take a nap, and clean the bathroom...back to work tomorrow, oh joy!


Terri said...

girl you exhausted me! I don't think I need to go to New York now! Glad you had a good time and made it safely home.

Love Bears All Things said...

Loved reading about your trip and the wedding. Bet you were flying Delta. I have had some "wonderful" not experiences at that Atlanta airport. Glad you made it home alright.
Mama Bear

Sally said...

Actually, it was Air Tran...but I've had problems w/ every airline I've ever used at one time or another...I'm glad to be home!!